Not every team is meant to finish the playoffs with a win. So was the case for West Jones early Wednesday night. The Lady Mustangs fell to Long Beach 3-0 under extreme fog in the MHSAA Class 5A South State Girls Soccer Championship game.
“I love our team,” said Lady Mustangs head coach Craig Winship. “I could not be more proud of them. Tonight we just weren’t the best team. Long Beach came out and played fast. They limited our opportunities. We didn’t adjust as well as they adjusted to us.”
West Jones finishes the 2018-2019 season 14-8 overall.
Winship said expectations coming into the year was to be right where they landed.
“I felt like we had the talent to go as far as we went,” said Winship. “These girls set their goals high. The big thing is we started three or four seniors this year. We had 28 girls on the team that lettered this year. So everyone had an opportunity, and it was one of those cheesy letters. Most of them played half of the games. We have a ton of experience coming back.”
One of the most notable losses will be Bre Carr. Carr led the team in goals scored with 12. Other seniors include Brinley Bullock, Alyssa Ezell, Lyndsey Bryant, and Lizbeth Oliveras, who combined for five additional goals. That’s a small percentage considering the Lady Mustangs finished with 90 goals.
“I have most of these girls for another three or four years,” said Winship. “I’m excited about our future. But this loss stings right now. We had some of the best senior leaders I’ve ever coached. Their presence will be missed as much as their talent.”
Long Beach scored back-to-back goals early in the second half to squish comeback hopes for West Jones.
While the extreme fog was an issue for both teams, making visibly 20-30 yards downfield difficult, it was Long Beach’s midfield play that separated them from West Jones.
“Long Beach dominated the middle of the field,” Winship said. “They pressed us hard every time we touched the ball. At times there were one and even two girls that collapsed on us. That made us play faster than we normally do and we’re a fast playing team.”
Long Beach advances to the 5A girls’ title game and will play Lafayette Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Brandon High School.